Skip to main content

TFO promotion pic of an angler holding a 9-weight Mangrove Coast fly rod. Photo credit TFO . . .

Finding magic in fly rods designed by a legend and made by TFO

Skip Clement, New Zealand.

By Skip Clement

The trend away from super-fast (stiff) action rods has been welcomed. It’s a resounding ‘success’ with many fly fishers north of 65 years old, anglers not comfortable with the physical demands of double-hauling stiff fly rods. A stiff fly rod leaves beginners with self-doubt—they cannot feel the fly rod load.

These new rods with slower action are not ‘buttery’ at all

However, they’re not the equal of a fast rod. You would likely want to use an aggressive casting fly rod fishing for bonefish or permit fishing in the Florida Keys or the Bahamas when winter cold fronts run through their paces. That said, there are a few workarounds to gaining back distance lost conventionally casting, like the Belgian Cast, keeping the tight loop low to the water, and anchoring up out of the wind.

At 85, having a collection of declining value joints that have risen to take revenge by limiting flexibility is not so subtle a reminder that I am circling life’s drain.

Henry 12-weight with butt handle.

I made rods that answered the call, but money dried up, and COVID hit

Now, with only one Henry remaining in my possession , a 7-weight along with a Sage 330 grain-weight BASS rod, a 5-weight Chuck Kraft rod, and a Bob Meiser-made special 909 5-weight, I didn’t have what I needed for crappie, freshwater basses, big Alaska or Patagonia trout, Labrador Atlantic salmon, and huge Maritimes brook trout. The latter was made available to me at a top lodge in Labrador in early September 2024. I count the days.

Captain Andrew Derr

I tried one fly rod recommendation provided by Capt Andrew Derr, who is more knowledgeable than most reps about fly rod brands. It’s a thing with him.

As a professional light tackle fishing guide on Long Island’s North Shore flats, which he developed over the years – expanding the local guiding opportunities for more booked days.

By September, Montauk, Long Island, New York, and through November, there is a wild time for stripers, albies, and huge bluefish. Derr can sometimes be boatbound on one of his two boats for weeks without a break. Fortunately, in 20 years, Capt. Derr has a long list of steady clients, mostly good fly fishers. Recently, one of his clients caught a striper on every cast for almost two hours straight – a flats first.

Summer striper on the flats. Photo by: Capt. Andrew Derr.

Derr is a no-nonsense guy

Fly fishing talk with Andrew is a matter of fact only. All his observations on having demonstrated the TFO Mangrove Coast rods designed by Flip Pallot coaxed me into a go. A recommendation that changed my thinking. I could find what I was looking for, which allowed me to commit.

Andrew knows how I feel about Pallot, another no BS fly fishing pro, and hit payday for me recommending MC.

A six and nine TFO Pallot MC found their way to Georgia

My tying group of seven excellent fly tyers and superior trout anglers gave them test drives. Three said they’d order 6-weights, and Angie and TJ ordered 8-weights for their Bahamas trips this winter. Both fish Andros North.

Brian Flechsig [L], who hosts the Mad River Media series of instructional fly fishing videos, is a fly designer and tyer. He’s also a fly fishing guide and veteran casting instructor, owning and operating Mad River Outfitters…one of the all-time fly fishing pro-shops and online fly fishing headquarters. He also runs and hosts some fantastic trips. Some of which you might find me tagging along. — Flip Pallot

So, what is the magic with the TFO Mangrove Coast fly rods?

The price, of course, is $350 plus shipping, which is affordable for most weekly paycheck folks, fixed-income citizens like myself, and a drop in the bucket for others.

Angie and TJ Douglas are serious, world-class Anglers with experience from Panama to Patagonia, Alaska to New Zealand, and Iceland to the Bahamas.

Their comments about Flip’s Mangrove Coast fly rods that they now own meet says Angie a broad spectrum of casting conditions that test both angler, rod, and fly line. TJ and Angie claim situations they run into could all be ameliorated due to design of the MC fly rods.

Into the afternoon and sill casting on a slow trout day with fast rods is tiring no matter your physicality, and not so tiring with an MC. Many have experienced both.

A tired cast is usually lousy; bad casts do not usually catch the fish you sighted

The reality of feeling the rod load is a benefit to a pro fly casting instructor like Capt Derr, Angie Roth, who is 5′ 4″ and 120-pounds, and TJ, who looks like an ad for bodybuilding and swears by the MC rods in the same language as Angie, Andrew, and others.

The MC rods deliver in any situation. From roll casting to picking up and firing away to intercept a single big bonefish at 70 feet or drop a dry fly at 32 feet and hold it for an eat. The TFO Mangrove Coast series of fly rods (6- to 12-weight – all 9- feet) as designed by Flip Pallot is without equal,’ said TJ.

I have heard super positive reviews about the TFO MC series of fly rods, and all of the interviews were with people in the advanced angling world.

TFO Mangrove Coast Fly Rods designed by Flip Pallot. The mangrove Coast Fly Rods, initially created with entry-level to intermediate saltwater anglers in mind, are a perfect fit for those seeking a medium-fast action. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, these rods are designed to meet your needs and enhance your angling experience—photo credit TFO.

That leaves a gap

What about older compromised anglers like me, newbies, and folks needing help double-hauling?

For one, I’m thrilled to have rods that cast beautifully across the entire MC series, from 6-weight to 12-weight.

There is no need for doubt about a fly rod that yields the correct amount of bend while loading any of the Mangrove Coast series fly rods. It’s inherent in the design.

Renowned watercolorist Thom Glace says casting is the best part of fly fishing, but if a beginner chooses or has chosen the wrong fly rod, loving to fly cast will not happen.

Reprinted with permission – Rainbow, Brown, and Brook. Brown trout are from Germany. The rainbow is a westerner by birthright and includes the steelhead, and the brook is a native easterner, but it is not a trout. It’s a char with Maine and Eastern Canada, where the big boys get caught. This illustration by world-renowned watercolorist Thom Glace.

A pleasant assurance

All TFO fly rods are made in South Korea but produced to TFO design standards. It is a pleasant assurance that yesterday’s order and next year’s order will have the exact same action. This is a huge problem for many of the other Asian fly rod producers, excluding Japan, which mostly prefers to be the pre-peg materials supplier.

Other Asian producers than TFO can produce quality fly rods, but unlike South Koreans, they are not as keen to stay on course. Today’s fly rod may not have the same components as tomorrow’s. Guessing which Asian company makes rods with consistency equal to that of South Koreans can be a crapshoot.

Remember Ben Franklin’s low-price warning. ‘The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.’

The Mangrove Coast fly rods are designed by Flip Pallot and came out in 2021. They were designed for saltwater anglers but found freshwater anglers lining up capture the easy casting series. The $350 price tag is doable for most. The castability of the Mangrove Coast rods is remarkable.

The videos below are worth watching more than once. Enjoy Flip Pallot and Brian Flechsig [Brian owns Mad River Outfitters, Midwest Fly Fishing Schools, and Ohio Fly Fishing Guides], explaining and demonstrating the magic of casting and the reality of a Mangrove Coast fly rod in your hands.

Mad River Outfitters

833 Bethel Road

Columbus, Ohio 43214




Author Skip

More posts by Skip

Leave a Reply